Transatlantic style

on UK streets

Ford Consul

THE early 1950s were pivotal years in car design and one manufacturer which was carried olong on a wave of modernity was Ford.

Prior to this period, Ford was a purveyor of boxy looking cars, more often than not black and was prime for a rocket assisted boost into the future.

And that boost came with the launch of the 1950 Consul, a roomy saloon and convertible with film star looks that altered the perception of Ford for ever.

This was a car that looked like the ones in the early American TV shows. It upstaged the boring post war motors that abounded our streets and it was the centre of attention.

The Consul featured such innovations as a monocoque bodyshell and the newly developed MacPherson strut suspension system.

There was also a 12-volt electrical system, hydraulic clutch, hydraulic brakes on all four wheels and more. All things we take for granted today, but very new then.

The bench front seat was trimmed in PVC, and the handbrake was operated by an umbrella-style pull lever under the facia. The windscreen wipers used the antiquated vacuum system, but it came from a vacuum pump linked to the camshaft-driven fuel pump instead of the induction manifold as on Ford's earlier applications of this arrangement.

Curved front and rear screens added to the modern looks and the Consul became an icon.

Costing around £550 in its day, the Consul featured a four-cylinder engine of 1,508cc turning out a leisurely 47bhp. It could do 75mph flat out.

Its 13 inch wheels were small for its size, but did much for the car's handling.

The Consul's three-speed column gearchange was one of the smoothest available in the 50s and most of the time you only needed to use third and top.

The Consul was joined in the Ford showrooms by the six-cylinder Zephyr and between them they acted as a magnet to motorists who wanted to drive to new horizons in style.

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